From February 21st to April 30th 2020, Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg South Africa welcome the travelling exhibition Lumières d’Afriques, a 54 artworks collection : one per african country, all created from a single and unique theme : Light and Energy in Africa.
Lumières d’ Afriques message from Gervanne Leridon, co-founder of AAD
“Over the past five years, the exhibition Lumières d’Afriques has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors in Africa and in Europe. Inaugurated in Paris on November 2015, on the eve of the Climate Change Conference (COP21), it is a touring exhibition which aims at questioning and highlighting the energy challenge as faced by African peoples.
Photographers, painters, sculptors and video artists (one from each of the continent’s 54 countries) have each contributed a piece inspired by a single theme “The Illuminated Africa” in both the literal and figurative sense. The pieces on display educate the audience about the issues and challenges of energy access -or lack thereof- in Africa.
After successful stints in Paris 2015, in Ivory Coast in 2016), in Senegal beginning of 2017, Geneva, in March 2017, Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia in December 2017-February 2018) and Rabat, Morocco (April-August 2019), the exhibit is finally coming to South Africa here in Johannesburg.
For the NGO African Artists for Development that Matthias and I imagined and that I am lucky enough to lead, imagining the destiny of the world from the sole angle of economics is to plunge into darkness.
In this year 2020, it is more than ever time to ask ourselves the question of the place of the artist in society. For Matthias and I, our contemporary society needs, more than ever, the commitment of artists and it is through their creation that we will be able to forge new links between
As soon as we came up with the idea of a touring pan-African exhibition, it was clear that it would come to South Africa. South Africa is, as you know, our country of heart to Matthias and me. Organizing this exhibition here is for us a fair return of things, it is in Johannesburg and in this very place that we discovered so many artists and we are happy, in our turn, to make you discover other artists.
It is a great honor for our NGO, African Artists for Development, and the 54 African artists promoting the universal right to energy access, to be hosted at the Standard Bank Gallery, an iconic venue for African modern and contemporary creation.
Finally, has access to energy access evolved since 2015, the opening date of this exhibition? Crucial question and after 1 month in your beautiful country and having known the daily power cuts One point is certain, even today, in 2020, access to electricity is not the same for everyone!
This exhibition encourages global civil society to reflect on this right to energy, a fundamental right that is still not the same for everyone.”
Co-founder of AAD
Lumières d’ Afriques message from Group CEO, Standard Bank Limited
“The arts in Africa are a powerful expression of our continent’s creativity and play a valuable part in allowing our voices to be heard, understood and valued throughout the world. Standard Bank has a long-term commitment to investing across the arts spectrum on the African continent.
We aim to support a wide range of initiatives that nurture young talent and showcase the rich diversity of Africa’s creative arts. We are proud to provide ongoing support for a variety of key projects, which have evolved into highlights of the South African and African cultural calendar.
Our commitment to cultural development is expressed through our various long-term arts investments, which include The National Arts Festival (44 years), The Standard Bank Young Artist Award (35 years), the Standard Bank Gallery (30 years) and the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz (22 Years). Over the years these initiatives have ensured that Standard Bank has stayed connected with the audiences, artists and brands who share in our celebration of African arts and culture.
Our sponsorship of exhibitions and art portfolios aims to reemphasise our purpose: Africa is our home, we drive her growth. We firmly believe that, through art, we can be a catalyst for sustainable economic and human development. Equally, of course, we value and appreciate art’s power to enrich each of our lives.
All art illuminates; this exhibition does so in two ways – figuratively and literally, both of which are close to our hearts as Africans. We are therefore very pleased and proud to be hosting this important exhibition at one of our most valued arts assets – the Standard Bank Gallery.”
Chief Executive, Standard Bank Group
Lumières d’Afriques message from the Curator, Standard Bank Gallery
“The Standard Bank Gallery is an inspirational space, situated in the vibrant heart of downtown Johannesburg. As it celebrates 30 years as the city’s principal visual arts venue offering a dynamic exhibition programme, we aim to continue enhancing and transforming client experiences that deliver commercial value. Since opening in 1990, the Standard Bank Gallery’s vast and varied exhibition programme has positioned us as a leading sponsor of the visual arts, and connected our clients, art lovers and new audiences to impactful gallery experiences.
Over the past three decades the gallery has boasted a dynamic exhibition programme that has not only demonstrated artistic achievement and merit but also displayed aesthetic excellence. Through partnerships with other arts and cultural organizations the gallery has staged some of the finest exhibitions held in Johannesburg including Marc Chagall: the light of Origins in 2000, Picasso and Africa in 2008, and Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning in 2016. The gallery has also hosted compelling local exhibitions featuring some of South Africa’s top established artists such as Louis Maqhubela, Diane Victor, David Goldblatt and David Koloane. This has been complemented by the Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner’s exhibition, which has showcased young artists such as Zanele Muholi, Nicholas Hlobo, The Essop Brothers and Nandipha Mntambo to name a few.
As the gallery looks to the next decade, it aims to focus its artistic lens on the African continent. The 2020 Standard Bank Gallery exhibition programme is inspired by a Pan Africanist view of artistic expression that looks closely at the expressive modes that have inspired African artists. It will offer a glimpse to the future of the continent by selecting exhibitions that focus on key issues affecting the youth and the rapidly transforming digital age. Through these vibrant programmes we hope to continue creating unique experiences for our clients and the arts community. We hope to continue driving engagements which highlight our commitment to presenting exhibitions of international standard and significant historical importance which contribute to the legacy of the rich cultural heritage of the African continent.”
Dr Same Mdluli
Curator, Standard Bank Gallery